Calls for a byelection date heat up in Chilliwack-Hope

BC Liberals accused of "manipulating" the byelection date for Chilliwack-Hope.

BC Conservative and NDP byelection candidates are putting the heat on Premier Christy Clark to give Chilliwack-Hope voters back their voice in the legislature.

“We’ve got some serious needs pressing,” NDP candidate Gwen O’Mahony said Tuesday.

Like court backlogs, a dialysis clinic for kidney patients, and all the other issues that a sitting MLA would handle, she said.

“The Legislature has been sitting for two weeks, and people in our communities have not had a voice at the table,” O’Mahony said.

“It’s time for the Premier to call this byelection to make sure that we have a voice in the B.C. Legislature.”

BC Conservative candidate John Martin said there is no reason for the delay.

He said the BC Liberal government is cynically “manipulating the byelection date to such a time as is advantageous to them.”

While it was the BC Liberals who enacted fixed dates for provincial elections to rule out such shenanigans, Martin said the same hasn’t held true for byelections.

“It’s a fault in our system,” he said, as it means voters like those in Chilliwack-Hope are treated like second-class citizens if they need to speak to their representative in government.

“They deserve the right to go and see their MLA and seek assistance,” he said.

But Martin believes polling by the BC Liberal party is telling them “now is not the time” to call a byelection, which are traditionally tough on governing parties.

“They’re thinking about their own dismal election chances,” Martin said.

But BC Liberal candidate Laurie Throness said he’s just as eager as the other candidates to get on with the byelection.

“I hope it’s soon, but that’s up to the Premier,” he said, about calling a byelection date.

“It’s only been about 30 days since Barry Penner resigned,” Throness pointed out.

“I think the Premier will get to it very soon.”

The fact is the Premier has six whole months to call a byelection from the time a riding seat is vacated.

That means in Chilliwack-Hope, the Premier could wait until July 30 to set a byelection date 28 days later in August.

Penner officially resigned on Jan. 9.

In Port Moody-Coquitlam, the other B.C. riding currently without a sitting MLA, the Premier could wait until April 7 to announce a byelection date.

Martin said it is “inexcusable” that the people in that riding have been waiting months for a byelection.

“These people have been without a voice for almost five months,” he said. “It’s totally inexcusable.”

O’Mahony said it’s her understanding that Premier Clark was going to call both byelections at the same time, “but she hasn’t called either one.”

“If she’s trying to improve her image,” O’Mahony added, then Clark’s hesitancy to call the byelections isn’t helping.

“She appears to be indecisive and prone to flip-flopping,” O’Mahony said.

rfreeman@theprogress.com

twitter.com/paperboy2

Just Posted

Newly elected Hope politicians took part in the Local Government Leadership Academy

The three-day event is aimed at helping new mayors and councillors navigate municipal politics

No records were beat, but Hope’s February temperatures aren’t average

Normally around 3C, the sub-zero temperatures made for both good and bad in the Fraser Valley

New Chilliwack YMCA was ‘worth the wait’ say visitors

Family Day will mark officially opening for new building, after sneak peek tours on Saturday

Opioid overdoses killing three people a month in Chilliwack

35 deaths in 2018 locally compare to 23 in 2017, 13 in 2016 up from about five per year before that

B.C. students win Great Waters Challenge video contest

Video, mural and song about saving the salmon claims the top prize

B.C. communities push back against climate change damages campaign

Activists copying California case that was tossed out of court

B.C. VIEWS: Power politics wins over rational energy policy

B.C Hydro continues to face interference on rates

PR firm suspends contract with former B.C. premier amid groping accusation

Edelman says in a statement that Campbell has served as a special adviser to the firm since last July

Vancouver crash leaves driver dead, 2 in hospital

Police are investigating what happened in 2-vehicle crash

James says B.C. budget puts priorities on NDP’s poverty, environment plans

She said she expected the government’s poverty reduction and climate change strategies to be priorities in the budget

VIDEO: Vancouver Giants blank Rockets

Langley-based G-men take over top spot in the west

PHOTOS: Day 1 of the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer

Games kicked off in Red Deer this week

Most Read